Everything you need to know about the recent safety upgrades on the South Eastern Freeway.
Have speed limits changed on the South Eastern Freeway?
Yes. Since 1 September 2014 the speed limit has been changed for both heavy vehicles and other vehicles on the down track of the South Eastern Freeway to improve safety.
What are the new speed limits?
Heavy vehicles must be in a low gear and cannot exceed 60km/h from the Crafers Interchange. The speed limit for all other vehicles is now 90km/h from the Stirling Interchange. Note: Larger heavy vehicles will be descending much slower than 60km/h, so watch out as the speed difference between the left lane and other lanes will be higher.
Are these changes for the whole freeway?
No. These speed changes take place between the Stirling Interchange and the tollgate on the South Eastern Freeway. There are also variable speed signs in this area which may indicate a lower speed limit subject to weather and traffic conditions, so watch out for these.
Can I still overtake in this area?
Heavy vehicles can overtake any vehicles between the Crafers Interchange and Measdays Bridge provided they do not exceed 60km/h. All other vehicles can continue overtaking vehicles as usual, as long as they don’t exceed the posted speed limit.
What is classed as a heavy vehicle?
All trucks and buses are classed as heavy vehicles, so they need to follow the new 60km/h speed limit from the Crafers Interchange to the bottom of the freeway.
What is a ‘Truck’ and ‘Bus’?
A truck is a motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) over 4.5 tonnes. A bus is defined as a motor vehicle built mainly to carry people that seats over 12 passengers (including the driver).
How do I know if I’m driving a truck?
Regardless of make or model, a vehicle with a GVM over 4.5 tonnes that isn’t a bus, tram or tractor is classified as a truck. Therefore, you need to follow all posted speed limits for trucks as well as have an appropriate truck licence.
Do I still have to slow down if my truck is empty?
Yes. The GVM of a vehicle does not change if it is loaded or unloaded.
How do I know if I’m driving a bus?
A vehicle is classified as a bus if the seating capacity is over 12 (including the driver). You are also required to have an appropriate licence to be able to drive a bus.
I have removed seats from my bus, is it still a bus?
A bus that has had seats removed or a campervan/motor home conversion which has reduced the seating capacity to 12 or less (including the driver) and registered as such, is no longer classified as a bus. However, it may still be classified as a truck if the vehicle’s GVM is more than 4.5 tonnes.
How do I know what the GVM of my vehicle is?
The GVM should be specified on the identification plate of the vehicle. All South Australian registered vehicles with a GVM more than 4.5 tonnes are issued with a registration label which identifies the GVM of the vehicle.
Do I have to slow down if I’m towing a trailer?
A towed trailer (i.e. caravan/horse float/boat) does not change the classification of a vehicle as it is based on the GVM of the towing vehicle only. If you are towing, it’s a good idea to use a lower gear to ensure your vehicle and trailer combination can be held at the appropriate speed to safely descend without continued use of the primary brake.
Why have these speed reductions been made?
These speed reductions have been made to improve safety on the down track of the South Eastern Freeway following a number of serious crashes.
Are any other safety upgrades taking place?
Yes. There will be an education campaign for heavy vehicle drivers on how to safely descend the section of the South Eastern Freeway from the Crafers Interchange. The arrestor beds will also be renamed safety ramps, because it was clear from an industry workshop that the term arrestor bed was not well understood. The cost of vehicle retrieval from the safety ramps will also be covered by the State Government as some sectors of the heavy vehicle industry thought the high cost could deter people from using the safety ramps.
Does RAA agree with these speed changes and safety upgrades?
Yes. RAA was on the consultation committee and has welcomed the reduction of the speed limit on the down track of the South Eastern Freeway, as well as the other safety upgrades which are going to be implemented.
To keep our roads safe for everyone, truck and bus drivers must follow Australian Road Rule 108 when descending on a steep road. To download a brochure on this, click here.